Secretary Of State Denney To Work Polls On Election Day

Nov 7, 2016

Secretary of State Lawerence Denney will be working the polls in northern Idaho during Tuesday's election.

Nez Perce County Clerk Patty Weeks said Monday that she first invited Denney to work the May primary election, but the secretary had another commitment. So the two rescheduled for him to work the general election.

This will be the first election Denney — a former House Speaker in the Idaho Legislature — has spent as a poll worker since taking over the office in 2014.

"If he hasn't been immersed in the process, then he's basing his decisions on what other people tell him," Weeks said.

Denney will start Monday by helping open absentee ballot envelopes. On Tuesday, Denney will work as a poll watcher in the county's largest precinct and then participate in the ballot count.

Idaho's top election chief will be immersed in the middle of the toughest legislative races in the state.

House Minority Leader John Rusche faces GOP challenger Mike Kingsley. Rusche defeated Kingsley in 2014 by just 48 votes. This year, both political parties have thrown thousands of dollars into campaign ads, set up campaign offices and sent staffers to urge people to get out and vote.

In October, the Idaho Democratic Party filed a complaint against the Idaho Republican Party accusing it of illegally coordinating an opposition ad against Rusche. Republican officials have denied these claims, and the secretary of state's office is currently investigating the claims.

Former Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, who served three terms before Denney, never worked as a poll worker during his time in office, said Chief Deputy Tim Hurst of the Secretary of State's Office.

Hurst said he Denney did not go to Nez Perce County because of the Rusche-Kingsley campaign dispute.

"He was asked to go before the race became involved in the complaint," Hurst said.